Banker Sean cashes in to clinch Lothians crown

Sean Marc shows off the Lothians Championship trophy. Pic: Jane Barlow
Sean Marc shows off the Lothians Championship trophy. Pic: Jane Barlow
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SEAN MARC, who works in anti-money laundering at the Royal Bank of Scotland, came up with the right figures to be crowned as the new Lothians champion.

The 25-year-old emerged as the first Broomieknowe player to claim the title since 1989 with a one-hole win over West Linton’s Stephen Smith at Musselburgh.

It was the best final in recent memory as both players produced some great golf in a bid to follow in the spikemarks of Bernard Gallacher, the winner at Monktonhall in 1967.

“It feels pretty good to be the Lothians champion and even better that the final was the best I’ve hit the ball all week,” admitted Marc.

He joins Bobby Muir (1975), Sandy Stephen (1978), Bruce Dunlop (1981) and Kevin Hastings (1989) in the band of Broomieknowe players to win the event in its 68-year history.

“I was aware of the fact that Kevin has been our last winner before I went out for the final, so it’s nice to have bridged that 26-year gap,” added the winner.

He’d progressed to the final by ending teenager Lewis Bain’s hopes of landing a home win – Marc sealing a 4&2 victory in their semi-final by rolling in a long birdie putt at the par-3 16th.

As had been the case in two of his three earlier matches at Montonhall, Smith, a 41-year-old Capital cabbie, went the distance before coming out on top against Glencorse’s Sean McGarvey.

“I stumbled over the line,” quipped Smith after keeping his nose in front as the last was halved in bogey-5s.

Bogeys were few and far between in the final, which saw the standard being set as the short third was halved in birdie-2s.

Smith, conqueror of defending champion David Miller in the first round and bidding to become West Linton’s first winner, then edged in front with another birdie at the next.

But Marc, after winning the fifth with a par, replied by hitting a splendid approach to around six feet at the sixth for his second 2 in the match.

An even better shot into the green at the eighth – he almost holed a 6-iron from 177 yards – hauled Smith level again before the match started to slip away from him. He made a mess of the tenth then lost the long 12th as well as Marc won that with a birdie following a lovely pitch that didn’t require his putter to come out of the bag. The 13th and 14th were swapped before Marc made his only mistake of the match by three-putting the 15th to allow his opponent to get back within touching distance again. But, despite sticking to the task to the bitter end, Smith was unable to convert a six-foot downhill par putt at the last to force extra-time. “Today was the most comfortable I felt all week,” admitted Marc. “I felt in control all day and that was pleasing.

“I hadn’t been able to play in this event all that much in recent years as it clashed with my exams when I was at Edinburgh University.”

Asked about trying to build on this success, he said he’d like to get a bit fitter in order to try and add a bit more length to his game. But there’s nothing that beats hitting fairways and – apart from finding a bunker at the 13th – he didn’t miss one in the final.

The win completed a dream double for Broomieknowe after Marc’s clubmate Kate McIntosh won the Midlothian Women’s Championship at Baberton the previous weekend. “That’s brilliant for the club,” he said.

Smith was gracious in defeat, admitting the best man had come out on top. “I’ve no complaints as Sean totally deserved it,” he said.